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Economy in Brief

Dutch consumer confidence goes South…Amid Covid19 protests
by Robert Brusca  November 22, 2021

Dutch confidence roller coaster
After the Great Recession episode Dutch confidence reached a peak near the end of 2017. It fell then gathered itself to recoup some lost growth throughout 2019 until the virus struck. At that point confidence plunged sharply but not to the sort of dregs it had seen in the dark days of the aftermath of the Great Recession. However, from that low in early 2020 Dutch confidence has steadily rebuilt its level until June of 2021 when it began to suffer a relapse of weakness. And that is where it is now, stuck in another declining phase.

Confidence is impacted- how bad is it?
Dutch consumer confidence on data back to 1990 has crashed to a 23.5 percentile rank standing- a level below which it has resided only about one-quarter of the time since 1990- it is a very weak reading. On the same timeline climate is assessed at its 30th percentile, also extremely weak. The willingness to buy reading has an even weaker 18.3 percentile standing. Clearly, confidence, climate, and willingness to buy in the Netherlands are all surfing at weak levels.

Negative momentum to boot
There is also clear negative momentum in gear. Only the willingness to buy metric shows a smaller drop (-12) over 3-months than it does over 6-months (-15). All readings show net drops for their respective current levels compare to their levels on January 2020 before the virus struck. The Netherlands is in a sour place in terms of consumers’ moods and - things are getting worse.

Covid protests spread and turn violent
Currently the Netherlands is one of the European nations experiencing active and volatile social protests over vaccine policy. Dutch protests continue to be violent with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte calling the unrest ‘pure violence’ by ‘idiots.’ (source) Protests also have erupted in Austria, Italy and in Croatia. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the latest surge in Covid-19 infections is worse than anything Germany has experienced so far and called for tighter restrictions to help check the spread. Protests, where they arise, are against new restrictions meant to contain the virus. Even Switzerland is experiencing protests over an upcoming referendum on whether to approve the governments restrictions. France has sent special forces to Guadeloupe to quell the Covid unrest.

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